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04 Aug 2018

Chelsea vs Manchester City: 3 battles to decide the Community Shield

REUTERS/Adam Hunger

Does it count for anything? Do we really care? Does it have a purpose? If we're asking these questions, it's that time of year again... 

Players are returning to training, the International Champions Cup is coming to an eagerly anticipated end and, once again, the purpose of the Community Shield is in disrepute. All of this combined can only mean one thing - football is back.

The annual season curtain raiser kicks off on Sunday, as FA Cup winners Chelsea - under new leadership in Maurizio Sarri - meet Pep Guardiola's Premier League champions and centurions, Manchester City.

It's Sarri vs Guardiola take three, and if last season's Champions League group stage games between the Citizens and Sarri's former club, Napoli, are anything to go by, we're in for a superb spectacle.

Except, it's the Community Shield. Perceived as a glorified friendly, it's one final opportunity to conduct tactical experiments and make wholesale personnel changes, which could ultimately nullify the joy of watching. It's wildly unpredictable.

Nonetheless, here are three tactical battles that could prove decisive in the final result.